Saturday, 18 May 2019 06:47

NCAA Women's Quarterfinal Recap: Georgia Rallies Past Vanderbilt 4-3; Duke Holds Off South Carolina; North Carolina & Stanford Roll 4-1

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The NCAA's Women's Final Four is set after a long day of tennis in Orlando with the first ball struck at noon eastern and the last celebration taking place just before midnight. The two late matches were the closer of the four with top seed Georgia coming back from a late 3-2 deficit to edge No. 8 Vanderbilt 4-3 while No. 5 Duke pulled off the mild upset over No. 4 South Carolina 4-1.

SEC rivals Georgia and Vanderbilt were meeting for the third time in the last three months and for the second time Vanderbilt would grab the early lead after an impressive performance in doubles. 

Vanderbilt jumped out to break leads on all three courts but Georgia came back to tie all three at 3-3. VU's top team of Emma Kurtz and Emily Smith won the next three games to close out Lourdes Carle and Katarina Jokic 6-3 while Georgia's No. 3 team of Marta Gonzalez and Meg Kowalski won the next two and served for the match up 5-3. VU's Christina Rosca and Amanda Meyer broke back on 3 and were serving at 4-5 when teammates Fernanda Contreras and Georgia Drummy sealed the doubles point with a 6-4 win at No. 2 over previously unbeaten Elena Christofi and Vivian Wolff (16-0 now 16-1). 

Vanderbilt came out strong in singles and went up breaks on all but one court and would ultimately take four opening sets. 

Despite going down an early break at No. 1 singles, Georgia sophomore Katarina Jokic would get it back on serve at 2-2 and then go on to win 10 of the next 13 games to defeat Georgia Drummy 6-3, 6-2 which tied the overall match at 1-1.

VU senior Fernanda Contreras put the Dores back in front with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 2 over Marta Gonzalez. Contreras had also defeated Gonzalez in straight sets in the final regular season meeting while Gonzalez lost for the third time against VU. 

UGA sophomore Vivian Wolff tied it back up after winning her 19th straight match (23-1 in dual-match play) with a come from behind 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over Amanda Meyer at No. 4 singles. Meyer had handed Wolff her only dual-match loss of the year back in February when the teams met at the National Team Indoors in Seattle. 

VU junior Christina Rosca put the Dores back in front once again after defeating Lourdes Carle 7-5, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. Rosca came back from a 5-3 deficit in the first set by fighting off a pair of set points to hold for 4-5 and then she broke Carle for 5-5 after Carle went ahead 30/0. Rosca followed that up with a hold for 6-5 and then she broke from 30/40, after a Carle double fault, to take the first set. 

UGA freshman Meg Kowalski tied the match at 3-3 with a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-1 win over Emily Smith at No. 6 singles. Kowalski led the first set tiebreak 5-3 and had a set point at 7-6* but Smith won the final three points to take the tiebreak 9-7. Kowalski took a medical timeout in between the first and second sets, after throwing up multiple times during the tiebreak, but after getting it all out she went up an early break in the second set and then rolled through the third set to improve to 20-1 in dual-match play. 

The final match left on court was next door at No. 5 singles where UGA junior Elena Christofi, who was riding an 11-match winning streak, had a 2-1 break lead over VU freshman Carolyn Campana. Christofi took the opening set 6-3 and then in the second set she came back from 2-5 down to force a tiebreak but Campana pulled it out 7-5. After Christofi broke for 2-1 in the third she'd hold for 3-1 and would then have two break points to go up 4-1. Campana would fight off both break points to get the hold but then Christofi held from 40/15 to extend her lead to 4-2. Both players held from 40/15 to make it 5-3 and then after Campana went up 40/30 on her next service game Christofi would take the next two points to close it out 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.  

The Bulldogs will now meet No. 5 Duke in the semifinals with match time no sooner than 7 pm eastern on Saturday evening. It will be Georgia's first semifinal since 2015, 12th overall, and the Bulldogs will be seeking their fourth appearance in the finals. 

Georgia junior Elena Christofi on closing out the match:
“It was definitely a tough one, especially when it comes down to one match. There’s more pressure, everyone is looking at you, and it’s tough to play exactly your game. That’s what I tried to focus on, every time on the next ball. My coach kept telling me I need to stay aggressive. That’s all I tried to do. I think in the end in these situations, you just need to play your game and play aggressive and hopefully it’s going to go your way.”

On the significance of dropping the doubles point:
“We always say the match starts in singles, because this is the most points we can win from. You know doubles is only one point. We obviously tried to win it pretty hard, but today wasn’t our day. Tomorrow we’re going to try to come out stronger and see how it goes.”

Georgia Head Coach Jeff Wallace on guiding Christofi through a tense final set:
“We were telling her, ‘Do not moonball.’ We were telling her to step in and play to win, play aggressive. And she did it just enough.”

On his team’s doubles play:
“Back in February our doubles was not that great. At the Team Indoors, we won that tournament but we lost four straight doubles points. So that’s something we’ve worked really hard and gotten a whole lot better in doubles, and have actually played some great doubles. Now I like where we’re at with it, but at the same time, our strength all year has been our singles.”

On Kowalksi’s gritty win at No. 6 singles:
“She’s a tough kid. She’s from Chicago, she’s a fighter. She threw up four times and found a way to get it done... amazing.”

Vanderbilt Head Coach Geoff Macdonald on the match:
“Hats off to Georgia for competing so well tonight. We had a great year and just came up a little short tonight.”

#1 Georgia 4, #8 Vanderbilt 3
May 17, 2019 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
Singles Competition
1. #2 Katarina Jokic (UGA) def. #64 Georgia Drummy (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2
2. #6 Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) def. #19 Marta Gonzalez (UGA) 6-3, 6-2
3. #18 Christina Rosca (VANDY) def. #69 Lourdes Carle (UGA) 7-5, 6-4
4. #72 Vivian Wolff (UGA) def. #93 Amanda Meyer (VANDY) 3-6, 6-0, 6-3
5. Elena Christofi (UGA) def. Carolyn Campana (VANDY) 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3
6. #122 Meg Kowalski (UGA) def. #117 Emily Smith (VANDY) 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-1
Doubles Competition
1. #38 Emma Kurtz/Emily Smith (VANDY) def. #28 Lourdes Carle/Katarina Jokic (UGA) 6-3
2. Fernanda Contreras/Georgia Drummy (VANDY) def. Elena Christofi/Vivian Wolff (UGA) 6-4
3. Marta Gonzalez/Meg Kowalski (UGA) vs. Christina Rosca/Amanda Meyer (VANDY) 5-4* (30/0), unfinished
Match Notes:
Vanderbilt 19-8; National ranking #8
Georgia 27-1; National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (1,2,4,3,6,5)
T-3:45

 

Duke advanced to the semifinals for the second year in a row, 10th overall, with a 4-1 win over No. 4 South Carolina. The Blue Devils captured the doubles point for the 24th time in 30 matches with a 6-3 win by Kelly Chen and Ellyse Hamlin at No. 1 and a 6-2 win by Maria Mateas and Margaryta Bilokin at No. 3.

Duke kept the momentum going in singles and claimed four opening sets and junior Meible Chi would be the first off the court, after winning for the eighth time in nine matches, with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Paige Cline at No. 2. 

South Carolina senior Ingrid Gamarra Martins narrowed the gap to 2-1 after winning her ninth match in a row with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Maria Mateas at No. 1. 

Duke senior Kaitlyn McCarthy pushed the lead back out to 3-1 after she won her fourth match in a row with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Megan Davies at No. 4. 

Each of the three remaining matches would go three sets with Duke needing to win just one of them while South Carolina needed all three. 

South Carolina junior Silvia Chinellato was starting to pull away from Ellyse Hamlin at No. 5, and the match at No. 3 between Kelly Chen and Mia Horvit was on serve, but neither would reach the finish line thanks to Duke freshman Margaryta Bilokin.

Bilokin came back from a set down to get the clincher at No. 6 with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 win over South Carolina senior Rachel Rohrabacher. It was Bilokin's ninth win in her last ten matches with the final point played just before midnight. 

The Blue Devils will be seeking a third appearance in the finals with the two previous appearances coming in 2009 and 1998.

 

Duke freshman Margaryta Bilokin on facing an energetic and vocal South Carolina team:
“We try to be louder. [Laughs.] I think that was very important, the support from my team. All of us keep supporting and encouraging each other from the very first point in doubles to the very last point in singles.”

On how she closed out her match:
“I was looking at the scoreboard a little bit. I wasn’t supposed to, but I was, and I saw the other matches were in the third set. So I knew it might be up to me, and I did my best to try to stay in there.”

Duke Head Coach Jamie Ashworth on where the No. 6 singles match turned:
“The middle of the second set. One of the things that we told Margaret was, ‘Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Go out there and play and compete like you can.’ We told her, ‘You have one of the best forehands on the team, you’ve got to go out there and use it.” She did a great job there.”

On preparing for South Carolina’s energy
“It was something we talked about for a couple of days. We basically had the opportunity to play their same team last year at National Team Indoors. I told them after the doubles that once we got on top, their emotional level dropped. I told them we had to do the same in singles. You can kind of take the air out of them a little bit by doing that. We got off to a good start and had those momentum switches in doubles.”

On the importance of the doubles point:
“For us, it’s been huge all year. We made some switches with our doubles and we weren’t happy with it, we came down here to the National Campus and switched our doubles teams around and we’ve played good doubles since then. It’s something we rely on and we count on.”

On playing Georgia tomorrow
“Just happy to have the opportunity to play. They had a long match like we did. As I’ve told them before, after each match we’ve played, we’re now one of four who have a chance. Now we want to do everything we can to take advantage of the opportunity, no matter who it is.”

South Carolina Head Coach Kevin Epley on the match overall:
“Overall, Duke played very well. They were one of the strongest teams we played all year. It was an epic match, we fought them until the end. Credit to both team for going the distance in the battle.”

#5 Duke 4, #4 South Carolina 1
May 17, 2019 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
Singles Competition
1. #4 I. Gamarra Martins (SC) def. #11 Maria Mateas (DU) 6-2, 6-1
2. #33 Meible Chi (DU) def. #17 Paige Cline (SC) 7-5, 6-0
3. #21 Kelly Chen (DU) vs. #81 Mia Horvit (SC) 6-2, 5-7, 3-2*, unfinished
4. Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) def. Megan Davies (SC) 6-1, 6-3
5. Silvia Chinellato (SC) vs. Ellyse Hamlin (DU) 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 4-1* (30/30), unfinished
6. Margaryta Bilokin (DU) def. Rachel Rohrabacher (SC) 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
Doubles Competition
1. #47 Kelly Chen/Ellyse Hamlin (DU) def. #3 Mia Horvit/I. Gamarra Martins (SC) 6-3
2. #24 Meible Chi/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DU) vs. #39 Megan Davies/Rachel Rohrabacher (SC) *5-4 (15/40), unfinished
3. Maria Mateas/Margaryta Bilokin (DU) def. Silvia Chinellato/Paige Cline (SC) 6-2
Match Notes:
Duke 26-3; National ranking #5
South Carolina 23-3; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (2,1,4,6)
T-3:00

 

 

Stanford overcame the loss of the doubles point for the second match in a row with a strong performance in singles to defeat No. 6 Pepperdine 4-1. The Waves took the early lead after Jessica Failla and Anastasia Iamachkine won 6-1 at No. 1 doubles and Daria Kuczer and Ashley Lahey would clinch the point with a 6-4 win at No. 2. 

Stanford bounced back in singles and claimed five opening sets and one-by-one they'd all fall the way of the Cardinal. 

Stanford sophomore Janice Shin won her sixth straight match, 14th in her 16, after making quick work of Daria Kuczer at No. 5 singles with a 6-1, 6-1 win. 

Stanford junior Emma Higuchi, who didn't play against Kansas, put the Cardinal in front 2-1 after winning for the 13th time in her last 14 completed matches with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 6. 

Stanford senior Melissa Lord made it 3-1 with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Adrijana Lekaj at No. 2. It was Lord's 13th win in her last 14 matches with 12 of those wins coming in straight sets.

Stanford junior Emily Arbuthnott would clinch for the 10th time this season with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Dzina Milovanovic at No. 4. The win was Arbuthnott's 15th in her last 16 matches.

Next up for the defending NCAA Champions will be a match against the No. 2 seed North Carolina. Stanford will seeking a fourth consecutive appearance in the finals. 

 

Stanford junior Emily Arbuthnott on her 10th clinch of the year:
“It’s actually a running joke now that I clinch all the matches. So I’ve been in that situation a lot, and it makes it easier in big moments like this. To be honest, I think it’s just that I never win really quickly. The most important thing is to stay focused. I had two other of my teammates on the court, and that took some pressure off. It was nice having everyone cheering on the sidelines and like I said, I’ve been there nine times before this year and many before that, so I feel pretty comfortable in that situation and confident I can pull off the win.”

On her team turning the 0-1 deficit into a 3-1 lead in a short period of time:
“I tried not to look too much, but I heard some good calls going around, so I was pretty confident we were up on a couple of courts. I think that really shows the depth of our singles. Obviously it’s not ideal to miss the doubles point, but to get back up to 3-1 quickly is really confidence- boosting.”

Stanford Head Coach Lele Forood on her team’s repeated ability to rcover from dropping the doubles points:
“It’s a different game, quite frankly. It’s a very different length of match. I think we have a lot of faith in each other in the singles.”

On the back-and-forth nature of college tennis:
“This is how it works, especially in these conditions. It’s a little challenging with the heat and stuff. You’re going to see more swings back and forth, I think.”

#3 Stanford 4, #6 Pepperdine 1
May 17, 2019 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
Singles Competition
1. #37 Lahey, Ashley (PEPP) vs. #24 Michaela Gordon (STAN) 6-4, 2-6, *2-0 (15/15), unfinished
2. #29 Melissa Lord (STAN) def. #102 Lekaj, Adrijana (PEPP) 6-1, 6-3
3. #66 Caroline Lampl (STAN) vs. #53 Failla, Jessica (PEPP) 6-3, 4-4* (40/30), unfinished
4. #44 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) def. Milovanovic, Dzina (PEPP) 6-1, 6-4
5. #108 Janice Shin (STAN) def. Kuczer, Daria (PEPP) 6-1, 6-1
6. #107 Emma Higuchi (STAN) def. Iamachkine,Anastasia (PEPP) 6-2, 6-0
Doubles Competition
1. #41 Failla, Jessica/Iamachkine,Anastasia (PEPP) def. #19 Caroline Lampl/Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-1
2. #86 Kuczer, Daria/Lahey, Ashley (PEPP) def. #29 Emily Arbuthnott/Michaela Gordon (STAN) 6-4
3. #57 Melissa Lord/Niluka Madurawe (STAN) vs. Lekaj, Adrijana/Milovanovic, Dzina (PEPP) 6-5*, unfinished
Match Notes:
Pepperdine 24-4; National ranking #6
Stanford 26-1; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (5,6,2,4)
T-2:24

 

North Carolina won the opening match of the day in exactly 3 hours with a 4-1 win over No. 7 UCLA. The Tar Heels dropped the doubles point for the first time this season after UCLA's Abi Altick and Taylor Johnson won the decider at No. 3 over Sara Daavettila and Alle Sanford 7-6(6). 

North Carolina won four lopsided first sets at 2, 3, 4, and 6 and would ultimately go on to close out each of those in straight sets. 

UNC sophomore Alle Sanford won for the sixth time in her last seven matches with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Gabby Andrews at No. 6.

UNC freshman Cameron Morra put the Heels in front after winning her ninth straight match with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Alaina Miller. 

UNC junior Alexa Graham would make it 3-1 after a 6-2, 6-4 win over Elysia Bolton at No. 2. Graham fell behind 4-1 in the second set before rattling off five straight games to close it out. Graham is now 24-2 on the season while Bolton lost for just the third time in last last 11 matches. 

UNC junior Sara Daavettila would shut the door on the Bruins season with a 6-2, 6-3 clinching win over Ayan Broomfield at No. 3. The win was the 12th in the last 13 matches for Daavettila.

The other two matches went unfinished with UCLA's Abi Altick holding four match points while serving 6-4, 6-5 (40/0) at No. 5 and UCLA's Jada Hart led 1-0* in the third set at No. 1. 

North Carolina junior Alexa Graham on coming back in the second set to close out her match in straights:
“In my head I just said don’t look up at the scoreboard, just play one point at a time. Try your hardest every point and then before you know it, IU was able to crawl back into the set.”

On recovering after losing the doubles point for the first time this season:
“I guess most of us are kind of used to it, because last season we didn’t do too well in doubles. But I think it’s really just the mindset that the doubles is only one point. You still have an opportunity for six more points after.”

On the inspiration from the UNC men’s team’s upset of No. 1 Ohio State:
“We are so inspired. They did so awesome. We are so excited to be here and cheer them on, and we’re so proud of them.”

North Carolina Head Coach Brian Kalbas on recovering after losing the doubles point for the first time this season:
“I told the team, bottom line is, really good teams are better in singles. You can’t just split the singles. We did an incredible job against a very good team, so to do that I’m real proud of our team.”

On Sara Daavettila’s clinching win at No. 3 singles
“She’s just very tough both physically and mentally. The girl [Ayan Broomfield] was trying to do a lot of things that would frustrate her. Sara just stayed committed to her game and went for the shots when it was a good, high percentage and we’re really proud of her under these tough conditions out here.”

UCLA Head Coach Stella Sampras Webster on her assessment of the match:
“I mean, the doubles point was just as tight at the National Indoors as it was today, and today it went our way. As for the singles, they overmatched us at some of the spots and just played really solid singles. A couple of them were not great matchups for us. I have to give it to them; they came out in singles and really played disciplined tennis. We weren’t able to maintain that high level we needed to beat them. I thought our players really fought hard, prepared well.

“We didn’t get over the hump of getting some of those big points to get ahead. We were trailing the whole time in singles. Jada [Hart] did a great job starting off, Abi [Altick] was playing some great tennis; they were definitely very competitive. Ayan [Broomfield] playing [Sara] Daavettila, Daavettila is just really tough. They were just better overall.”

#2 North Carolina 4, #7 UCLA 1
May 17, 2019 at Orlando, Fla. (USTA National Campus)
Singles Competition
1. #45 Jada Hart (UCLA) vs. #5 Makenna Jones (NC) 6-4, 4-6, 1-0* (30/40), unfinished
2. #7 Alexa Graham (NC) def. #32 Elysia Bolton (UCLA) 6-2, 6-4
3. #20 Sara Daavettila (NC) def. Ayan Broomfield (UCLA) 6-2, 6-3
4. #46 Cameron Morra (NC) def. Alaina Miller (UCLA) 6-2, 6-3
5. #120 Abi Altick (UCLA) vs. Jessie Aney (NC) 6-4, *6-5 (40/0), unfinished
6. Alle Sanford (NC) def. Gabby Andrews (UCLA) 6-1, 6-0
Doubles Competition
1. #2 Jessie Aney/Alexa Graham (NC) def. #5 Gabby Andrews/Ayan Broomfield (UCLA) 6-3
2. #11 Elysia Bolton/Jada Hart (UCLA) def. #12 Makenna Jones/Cameron Morra (NC) 6-1
3. #82 Abi Altick/Taylor Johnson (UCLA) def. Sara Daavettila/Alle Sanford (NC) 7-6 (8-6)
Match Notes:
North Carolina 32-1; National ranking #2
UCLA 21-7; National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,4,2,3)
T-3:00

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